Monday, January 21, 2019

Sixteenth Note Practice!

Third graders at HSES have been reviewing notes and rests. We reviewed the rhythms we learned earlier in the year and just added in sixteenth notes. I've recently gotten a trial of Quaver to use in my classroom and so I looked to see what was available for teaching sixteenth notes. Quaver's "Sixteenth Note Samba" is SO catchy and my students LOVED it.

Also, I don't think I've ever had a group of students catch on so quickly to counting sixteenths. :) Here they are working with partners to create, notate, and perform rhythms with sixteenth notes.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Rules and Rhythms - Updated!

Rules and Rhythms has become my favorite back-to-school lesson! It is the perfect way to review our music rules and expectations while also practicing rhythms and having fun! This year, I tweaked the lesson a little and the students did a great job and seemed to really enjoy it.

First, each group was given one of our music rules and they had to notate the rhythm using their rhythm cards.

Next, the groups were asked to create a body percussion pattern to perform their rhythm. They used creative combinations of snapping, patting, stomping, clapping, and more. After some practice, each group performed their body percussion and rule for the class to a beat track. This is the track we used and it worked really well:

Finally, we had each group perform their body percussion at the same time while saying their rule out loud (using the beat track). So much fun! Now, the students know our music rules and they are ready for our rhythm unit!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Instrument Aikendrum

Kindergarten students have been learning all about our classroom percussion instruments. They've learned to identify the instrument names and play them using correct technique. I got the idea from Mrs. Mattson's Music Room to use this "Aikendrum" activity to review all that they've learned. First, I introduced the song and we talked about what they heard. The students loved hearing all of the silly things Aikendrum was made from.

Next, we learned the song and sang it together. I used Raffi's version.

Then, I had a few students come to the board to choose their own Aikendrum food items and we sang the song again.

After some fun singing together, I told the students that they were going to get to be even more creative together and create an Aikendrum from our classroom percussion instruments. I put them into groups, gave them a bucket of instruments, and the fun began. Once they were finished creating their Aikendrum, they worked together to draw a picture of each instrument part and write the instrument's name in the blank for their creation. They also tried to sing their own version of the song.

Here are a few pictures of what they came up with:

Here is a copy of the worksheet I made for those interested. Enjoy!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Treble Clef Practice with Boomwhackers

Fourth and Fifth grader music classes have been learning about and reviewing the treble clef staff. They've been playing games to practice identifying the names of the lines and spaces. Before we begin playing soprano recorders, I wanted to give them a little more practice with reading a melody on the treble clef. I set up 5 stations around the room with a variety of children's melodies (Twinkle Twinkle, Old MacDonald, etc.) and but a set of Boomwhackers at each station. When the students arrived at a station, they were to divvy out the Boomwhackers and review which note they had an where it was located on the staff. Then, they worked together to play the notes in order to create the melody. Each group typically had time to play through each melody about 4 times before they had to rotate to the next station. This took concentration and team work!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Woods, Metals, and Skins - Oh My!

Our Kindergarten students have been learning all about the classroom percussion instruments. They've learned their names and how to play them with correct technique. Recently, they learned that we can categorize these instruments into 3 groups: Woods, Metals, and Skins.

After learning to categorize the instruments, I show the students how we can use a shape to represent each group. I pass out the instruments and they have to group themselves according to their instrument and shape.

Next, I show the students these Aleatoric Maps, created by my friend Charlotte, and they play their instrument as I trace the line. You can also trace from each end point as well as point slower or faster. We do several of these together and then I have a few students come to the board to make one collaboratively. 

Finally, I have the students work in groups to create their own maps. They take turns creating their line with a piece of yarn and then place the shapes (cut out on the die-cut machine) wherever they want. The student who created the map gets to be the pointer while the other students play. The students really enjoyed this and I loved seeing all of their creativity. It also gave me a chance to work one-on-one with any students who were still struggling with technique or playing on cue. Here are a few pictures of them hard at work in their groups:

Ukulele Strumming Exercises

Fourth and Fifth graders have been working on their ukulele skills in music class. After learning F, C, and G7 chords, we used these YouTube ukulele exercises to practice chord changes:

Then, I had the students create their own exercises using the notation provided in the videos. After they created their own and practiced it, they switched papers with another group and had fun trying to play their composition. Here is the worksheet I provided if you'd like to try this with your students: Ukulele Chord Practice.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017


HSES was incredibly fortunate to host the Alash Ensemble recently for a performance at our school. They are currently on tour in North America and were performing at the university nearby, UGA. I discussed the group's country of origin, the Republic of Tuva, and their unique style of performing called throat singing. They were fabulous and the students were so fascinated! I heard from many parents that throat singing was the topic of conversation at their dinner table that night including some demonstrations. ;)

Here are a few pictures of their performance a some video clips of the group you can check out. Their website also has some wonderful information if you'd like to learn more about them: